MOOP MAP 2014: 3 Steps to Get the Green



~ Leaving No Trace ~
The Burning Man community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

There was a time (ten short years ago) when Burning Man had no Playa Restoration crew. Volunteers from the Department of Public Works would stay long after the event for “cleanup,” which ended when the playa was clean. The Burning Man community had always taken great care and individual responsibility in Leaving No Trace, and the cleanup crew was always able to ensure that the BLM would approve of Black Rock City’s efforts and allow our city of dust to keep flourishing. But slowly, as our population grew, it became more and more difficult to restore the playa to a perfectly moop-free state.

Playa Restoration was founded by D.A. in 2005. His goal: To change attitudes about what it really means to “clean up” Black Rock City. In 2006, we created Burning Man’s first Moop Map. The community could finally see what it meant to Leave No Trace, and how it was possible to improve. The effect of the map was dramatic: an immediate and lasting improvement in Burning Man’s impact trace.

Over the years, the Moop Map has been an excellent way for the Resto team to report back on the effectiveness of Black Rock City’s efforts to Leave No Trace. And as you can see, even as the city has grown, Burning Man’s overall moopiness has actually improved. Make no mistake: That is due to the dedication and hard work of the people of Black Rock City.

The Resto crew exists to support every Burner in our efforts to Leave No Trace. Every year, we share our tips and tricks on this blog, to empower every Black Rock citizen with the knowledge to leave their camp clean and moop-free.

But here’s a secret: You don’t actually need any special knowledge to Leave No Trace on the playa. All you need to do … is Leave No Trace. And so, this year we’re giving you the three easy, basic steps that, if followed carefully, almost guarantee a big, sexy green on next year’s Moop Map.


1. Make an LNT plan

Before your camp hits the playa, make sure you know how you’ll manage moop as a group. How will you keep it from hitting the ground? How will you pack it out? And who’s staying to join your moop line? (hint: everyone)

2. Do a line sweep (with the right people and tools)

Moop line sweeps are simple: Everyone lines up at one end of your camp, a few feet apart, and walks in a straight line through the camp, picking up everything you see. That means everything that isn’t part of the Black Rock Desert: glitter, string, wood chips, greywater spots.

To help with that, you’ll want a few tools: Vise grips to pull rebar and tent stakes; a shovel and a bucket to scoop up stains; a broom and/or rake to expose small pieces.

The ideal line sweep is 30 people strong. That means everyone in your camp needs to participate.

3. Write down what you found

As you sweep through your camp, document your findings. It’s incredibly educational to see what types of moop hit the ground, and where–and it’ll show you how you can improve for next year. Wood chips at your build site? Use a tarp next year. Greywater spots near your evap pond? Redesign it. Food bits near the kitchen? Put down flooring.

It’s really that simple. How do we Leave No Trace out here in the Black Rock Desert? We just look around us, and pick up what we see, until it’s all gone.


Moop Map, Day 2 results

On Day 2, the Playa Restoration moop line finished its sweep of the back blocks of the city. Next up: the crew makes a hard right turn, sweeping down 10:00 and onto the Esplanade!

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

Moop Map Legend

GREEN: Low Impact to No Impact Trace. The moop line moves at a normal walking pace, picking up very little.

YELLOW: Moderate Impact Trace. The line must slow down in order to pick up all the moop here.

RED: High Impact Trace. The line must stop to clean up hotspots or very moopy areas.

We’re not posting details of what was found in each spot. If you are a theme camp, your Placement representative may have more detailed information for you in a few months (when the entire Moop Map is finalized). Please be patient: we have much more work to do before we can pass detailed information along.

Stay tuned for more, as the moop line marches through the streets of BRC. We’ll keep posting the results just as quickly as we can compile them.

Want more photos & goodies from the Playa Restoration team? Search #BM2014. You can also follow The Hun: FacebookTwitterInstagram.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

15 Comments on “MOOP MAP 2014: 3 Steps to Get the Green

  • G says:

    That GIF is awesome, love it!

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  • aparabola says:

    Thanks for keeping the Playa pristine! <3

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  • Fez says:

    Wow, is there *any* Burning Man principle that Caravancicle/Lost Hotel followed?

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  • Celeste says:

    Is anyone else disturbed that Gypsy Flower Power is called out but no mention is being made of The Lost Hotel and Caravanscicle? It appears those camps were just as bad (starting off with 6 red Xs – almost as many as GFP and now that they have been swept a big red block and a big yellow block) and yet they are not getting called out? And isn’t that even more of an issue when those camps were started an organized by someone on the new board of directors? Where’s the transparency? Or was this just an attempt to direct attention away from the commodification that was made so blatantly apparent by these camps?

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  • Miche Lle says:

    What is that big strip of red at Isfahan between 2:15 and 2:30? Was that not a registered theme camp? Scary.

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  • Ria says:

    We were camped across the street from the big red strip on Isfahan between 2:15 & 2:30, and it was just open camping. We never met those neighbors; there seemed to be several small to medium sized camps, and a couple RVs – it wasn’t one big camp. Except for the camp on the 2:30 corner across from the toilets, they were gone by Sunday morning, so it’s possible something was dumped or blew in there after they’d gone.

    We left Sunday night after the temple burn; we focused our MOOP efforts on our camp site and the adjacent ones (next year we’ll be peeling onions and garlic before we get to the playa; that was a huge pain once bits blew around). We didn’t see anything MOOP-y in the red area before we left, but we didn’t take a close look and left in the dark.

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  • Jal says:

    Like I said in many conversations,…we can never expect the rich to act in any way other than how they have been acting for…well…ever. They will always shit on any culture they come in contact with, and they will always feel entirely entitled to doing it. Seriously, the rich have been shitting on everything for as long as history can tell, why should we expect anything different at BM?

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  • flook says:

    THE MINISTRY OF DOUCHEBAGGERY COLLECTIVE would like to send a most sincere THANKS to all the RESTORATION crew, and every hard working LNT’er. i have a feeling that the yellow bar in the center of our plot was leaky gray water, and am hoping that we will be able t find out for sure. Our collective camps all share the same concern, and will make sure this doesn’t happen again next year, as we highly value the PRIVILEGE of our placement! 2015 plan includes a shower trailer, eliminating the possibility of leaking ponds… any comments regarding the specifics of our rating are greatly appreciated and educational!

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  • Vince says:

    I agree Lost Hotelis horrible!!!! Look at all that red! is an interesting article about that camp.

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  • The Hun says:

    HI FLOOK! Yellow happens… glad to hear you have a plan for next year. Your Placement rep may be able to tell you more in a few months. Hope y’all had fun out here.


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  • onemandown says:

    Where did all the comments go? Really the entire discussion about Gypsy Flower Power was removed? As well as the host of other meaningful posts.

    Nice to see freedom of speech is alive and well on the burning blog.

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  • onemandown says:

    <—- Acknowledges mistake. It was all on another post. My bad… virtual spankings commence.

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  • Panic Office says:

    Guys, thank you so much for all your hard work! I can’t believe it, but camp Pretentious Fox got yellowed and a big red X… I have NO IDEA how that happened, because we had a clean-up crew of 15 sweep the area. My only guess is that the red x is our storage container which may have not been picked up in a timely fashion but is sure to be gone now, but also that some of the fur from our bar may have gotten trapped under the container itself and we couldn’t clean it up.

    I’ll speak to reverend bloodshot to see if he can shed some light on it so that we have a better plan and to avoid this happening next year.

    You guys rock!

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